By Bryan Hood, Craig Hubert, and Chloe Wyma | After 10 weeks of “hilarious” hi-jinx involving Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, Shoshanna, and the boys they sometimes date, the second season of “Girls” has finally come to an end. On last night’s Nora Ephron-lite season finale, Hannah continued to struggle with her book, Shoshanna and Ray finally came to a head, and for some reason, Marnie and Charlie decided it would be a good idea to date again. And if all that wasn’t frustrating enough, a shirtless Adam ran from his apartment to Hannah’s just to make sure that the “kid” was okay. Here’s what we had to say, over GChat, about the frequently infuriating final episode of season two of HBO’s “Girls.”
Bryan: Well, we knew this was going to happen.
Craig: Shoshanna’s list of things Ray hates made me chuckle. Did she say that Ray hates dinner?
Chloe: You know what though? Ray’s right. There is a difference between negativity and critical thinking.
Bryan: There is, but do you really think Ray is just being a critical thinker?
Bryan: He does seem to hate everything but her.
Chloe: Ray’s great. I’m squarely on Team Ray. He likes Latin studies.
Craig: He loves Andy Kauffman.
Chloe: Exactly, that’s two things. I liked learning that Ray is a failed PhD candidate.
Bryan: Why did that not come up until now? Like, of course he is, but why was it never brought up?
Craig: I also enjoyed Ray’s interaction with his boss, played by Colin Quinn. When you think about it, Colin Quinn is like a grownup Ray, who straddles the line between “critical thinking” and negativity. Perfect casting.
Bryan: I’ve rarely been less annoyed by Quinn.
Craig: Also: Maybe Ray is homeless because he’s paying off student debt?
Bryan: That would make sense. I do find Ray being homeless weird, even if he has a shit load of student loan debt. He works regularly and doesn’t seem to spend his money on anything.
Bryan: He hates to go out, he wears the same clothes…
Chloe: He’s just kind of a drifter. It’s not realistic.
Bryan: Where is that money going!
Chloe: Latin studies! Purses for Shoshana!
Bryan: Food-shaped purses. So, the closing Shoshana shot — Shoshana goes wild? How long does the rampage last? Does she at some point come to miss Ray?
Craig: Yeah, I don’t know what that was about. I thought it was brutal that she was with the blonde haired dude, just like Ray said. And if we take that final shot in the context of what happened in the rest of the episode, will she fantastically fuck up before reuniting with Ray?
Bryan: They always seemed the least fucked up, so maybe not? Maybe they just fall apart and don’t come back together. Maybe this is the end of Ray.
Craig: A few weeks ago I might have believed that, when “Girls” was becoming interesting, before it backtracked on everything it was building toward.
Craig: By the way, let me just say right now that this episode was complete bullshit, and ruined the show for me.
Chloe: Why did you hate it?
Craig: Because it reverted to a clichéd happy ending. It went for standard romantic-comedy beats. It was Lena Dunham’s version of Nora Ephron. It was stamped with the voice of Judd Apatow, who co-wrote the episode.
Bryan: Craig has a dark heart/soul/outlook on life. He cannot take someone possibly being happy.
Chloe: I agree, begrudgingly.
Craig: That I have a dark soul?
Chloe: No, that it was super Nora Ephroned-out. I’m sorry, but Ray and Shoshanna never made sense as a couple. It was a cute opposites-attract sort of thing.
Bryan: I agree. Something always felt off.
Craig: It was an easy way to consolidate story lines, to get two characters in the same room.
Chloe: The reality is that people do need some shared interests, or a shared perspective.
Bryan: Isn’t it hard to have shared interests with Ray though?
Chloe: I disagree. I would be totally down with Ray. He’s the least off-putting hetero male on the show and Soshanna is kind of shallow and a careerist.
Bryan: Like, why would you be down with Ray? What does someone in a relationship with him stay in it for?
Chloe: The sex. “I can’t cum unless you do.” That’s empathy.
BRUNCH & LITTLE BROWN BABIES
Bryan: Let’s get into Marnie and Charlie and the most boring couple of all time.
Craig: They are the reason I hate brunch in Brooklyn.
Chloe: They’re the most complacent assholes in the world.
Bryan: Charlie is putz, so yeah, I’m glad he and Marnie are going to be together forever and ever.
Chloe: Brown babies??
Bryan: I feel like I vaguely remember some reference to that? And of course Marnie gloms onto it, any thing that might possibly make her even the slightest bit different than what she is.
Craig: This is my question — are they making fun of Marnie, or they trying to make her insufferably cute or something? If so, it’s not working. Are we supposed to find her endearing? Are we supposed to find something interesting in their love story?
Chloe: She’s deliberately insufferable, I think, as is Charlie. There is the line, “I want to see you every morning and I want to make you a snack every night. And eventually I want to have your little brown babies and I want to watch you die.”
Bryan: I love that she pointed out, almost immediately, that she wasn’t into him just for his money.
Craig: But then he made sure to let her know he does have a lot of money. And then she kissed him.
Chloe: I really hope the audience isn’t supposed to relate to or emphasize with that.
Craig: There was a sincerity to that scene that was disturbing to me.
Chloe: I don’t think that scene was meant to be sincere. I think you’re supposed to fucking hate those people, and think, “those complacent fucks deserve each other.” It just wasn’t very heartwarming. They could have written it differently, and much more convincingly, if they wanted to really sell the audience on the idea of them as a couple again.
Craig: I hope so. I want to believe that. But with that scene, and what else happened in the episode, I’m not sure. Side note: were they eating at Roberta’s?
Bryan: Charlie lives in Bushwick.
Craig: Yeah, let me just say this and make sure it’s published — Roberta’s sucks because people like that actually eat there. I’m glad “Girls” recognizes this. Ray would never eat at Roberta’s.
Chloe: Yes. Roberta’s was the perfect location for that scene.
I’VE ALWAYS BEEN HERE
Bryan: So Adam and Natalia are/were still a thing at the beginning of the episode.
Craig: I thought that was one of the only interesting thinga about that storyline this episode — that they were still together, and that she was trying to “tame” him in some weird way.
Chloe: Adam can’t achieve sexual fulfillment without degrading a woman in some way.
Craig: I think that’s true. But also, what was with him breaking all his work?
Chloe: The subtext was that he’s lashing out because he misses Hannah. But I found that pretty histrionic.
Bryan: Also, he’d found himself in a relationship he didn’t really want? Trapped, so to speak. And if there’s one thing Adam doesn’t deal well with it’s being trapped.
Craig: But this is all getting at my problems with the episode. I feel like, especially recently, “Girls” has been doing a lot with very little. One look, or line of dialogue, opened up a lot of doors in thinking about these characters. Now, we have these clichéd scenes with Adam breaking all his shit to show that he is “trapped,” and later, running full speed to be with the one he really loves? It seemed like a reversal.
Chloe: I agree. It’s cheesy, except I feel like the ending was very self-conscious. it was like this meta rom-com thing.
Craig: Meta rom-com that circles back and just becomes rom-com again.
Craig: I’m done with “Girls.” I’d rather watch reality shows about people eating dryer sheets, or whatever.
Bryan: (It should be pointed out that Craig gives me shit all the time for watching shows like that.)
Chloe: ”Girls” has its charms, but I agree with Craig. I don’t think it’s the job of the show to be socially responsible to deliver examples of good feminism onto the viewership, but I had to problems with this episode. First, that Adam, who’s behavior has been really bad, misogynist, and actually kind of scary, becomes totally redeemed in the end, breaking down Hannah’s door, coming to her rescue. You’re supposed to just forget about all his problematic, thorny sex issues? Second, and this is related. I feel that the ending implies that getting back with your boyfriend can cure mental illness. It reinforces this myth that romantic relationships are the answer to all our fucking problems. Of course, that is the cultural myth at the heart of pretty much all romantic comedies.
Bryan: First, Adam’s past is filled with moments like this, so I don’t know if we can say he’s redeemed himself yet. He does a bunch of shitty things and then one nice thing and we (or the fictional characters on the show) forget what he has done. This is par for the course with him. As we’ve talked about plenty this season, no one on this show changes. I guess there’s being consistent in characterization but there’s also just creating characters who end up being coming static. Which is what it feels like here. Second, I don’t think we should fault the show for saying that everything is fine once you get the boy/girl. If there is one thing that the show has shown time and time again, it’s that getting the boy/girl doesn’t actually change things at all.
Chloe: Yep. Everyone pretty does a 360. Hannah, Adam, Marnie, and Charlie all end up where they started.
Bryan: Hannah is still going to have her problems. She just gets five seconds of, “oh I’m all right” before the fade to black. She is not cured because Adam shows up.
Chloe: We’ll see what they do next season. They do a pretty good job of tying everything up it a neat little bow, but I’m sure they’re just going to fuck with us later.
Craig: Here’s my plan for the next season. I won’t be watching, but I want you two to notify me when Laird shows up.
Chloe: I’ll be on perpetual Laird-watch, don’t you worry.
Craig: I’m working on a treatment for the Laird spinoff show where he opens a salon.
Chloe: I want Laird to give me a haircut. I’d watch that.
Bryan: Who wouldn’t? Also putting this in digital print, Craig will watch “Girls” next year.
Craig: If HBO picks up my Laird spinoff, I’ll make sure both of you are hired as staff writers. And Lena Dunham, if you’re reading this, I won’t watch your show next season, but I have lots of cool ideas if you want to hire me, or just want to hang out and chat about it.
NO FUN AT ALL
Bryan: The song over the closing credits is by Lena Dunham’s boyfriend’s band fun., and starts with the lyrics: “for once there is nothing up my sleeve.” Was this her way of saying, “Guys, for once, don’t read into this shit. It’s not meta, it’s not a comment on the long history of the rom com, for once I am being earnest and sincere. Just take this at face value?”
Chloe: Or she just wanted to play her boyfriends song during the credits.
Bryan: In a show where things frequently feel too on the nose, that seemed like the perfect way to end things. Which is not to say that it was a good way.
Chloe: Well yeah, I do think the ending is sincere. I think it’s like Craig said, it kind of works through this corny rom-com pastiche thing only to become the thing that it’s pretending to be. It’s kind of about going through cynicism and coming out on the other side again.
Chloe: Anything else? Predictions for next season?
Bryan: Everything will still be screwed up when they come back. Ray will wear suits, though.
Chloe: Right, cause he’s the overseer of operations and logistics at a coffee-shop. Jessa will have some kind of vulvic body art and maybe a second husband.
Bryan: Charlie will lose all his money. Hannah and Adam will continue to have weird sex.
Chloe: Hannah and Adam will be getting tons of butt splinters from all their raunchy floor sex. I don’t even care to find out what happens to Marnie.
Craig: I’m skipping predictions. No interest in even hate-watching this. You can find me sipping coffee at Grumpy’s.
Chloe: “Life is intense and you have to ride it like a pony or you’re going to get a haircut.”